Electric scooters are all the rage in 2018, as people of all ages are discovering the appeal of traveling around many American cities in a fast, efficient, enjoyable way. The scooters are taking off, and the companies that make them are enjoying real success. There’s just one catch, though. There have been many concerns of late about the safety of the scooters, for both the riders and the pedestrians around them. As the Washington Post reported, those concerns are now coming to a head in the form of a major class-action lawsuit in California.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accuses e-scooter companies Lime, Bird, and others of “gross negligence” and “aiding and abetting assault.” Three plaintiffs say they were walking down the street when e-scooter riders crashed into them from behind, and they suffered severe injuries as a result. The suit states that because many scooters contain defective electronics and mechanical parts, the scooter manufacturers are largely responsible for the damages.
“While acting under the guise of the commendable goals of furthering personal freedom and mobility and protecting the environment, the defendants … are endangering the health, safety and welfare of riders, pedestrians, and the general public,” the suit states. “Scores, if not hundreds, of riders and pedestrians and members of the public have suffered, are continuing to suffer and will to continue to suffer egregious and avoidable injuries and damage to their person and property.”
E-scooters have really taken off in recent months, but they’ve also been linked to an increase in severe injuries reported at hospitals nationwide. Lime, Bird, and other companies like them now have a growing number of critics who say their products are poorly maintained and prone to potentially dangerous mechanical failures. There have even been two deaths this year linked to e-scooter accidents, one in Dallas and another in Washington, D.C.
The scooter companies, meanwhile, have defended their products. First off, they say that e-scooters are an essential alternative to cars, which are more harmful to the environment and cause plenty of accidents themselves. Moreover, the companies maintain that they’re committed to rider and pedestrian safety.
“While we don’t comment on pending litigation, safety has always been at the very core of everything we do at Lime—as is our mission of reducing cars from city streets and making them safer and greener for pedestrians, bike and scooter riders alike,” a Lime spokesperson told the Post. “Lime prides itself on taking proactive steps relating [to] safety wherever we have a presence.”
Photo: An electric scooter at a drop zone in Long Beach, California. Credit: mikeledray / Shutterstock.com